With training camps set to open this month, the Chicago Bears are facing a dilemma—who will their starting running back be? The Bears need improvement upon a rush offense that was ranked 30th in the NFL last year.
The team's release of Cedric Benson creates a void at the running back position. Who will be the man to carry the load next season for a team that desperately needs a back to emerge? Will this question be answered in training camp, or will the Bears decide to take a chance on the free agent market?
While there are a few viable options on the free agent market (most notably Shaun Alexander), there is no long-term solution for the Bears right now.
The Bears selected Matt Forte of Tulane University with their second round pick (No. 44) in this year's draft, but fans will have to wait and see if Forte lives up to his potential. Adrian Peterson is a nice change of pace back but hasn't shown the durability that the Bears will need.
The NFC North is a division with four inexperienced quarterbacks, so the need for ball control via the running game is crucial for the Bears if they expect to contend for the division title.
Shaun Alexander, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks, may provide a decent short term solution, as he is a bigger back that may be able to handle the ball-carrying duties in offensive coordinator Ron Turner's system.
The possibility of a two-back shuttle system with Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe may be an option as well.
The approach for now appears to be "wait and see" until after training camp has ended and the Bears reassess their options.